Ellen and Patsi talked about Cortisol and its paralysing effects. I’ve been faced by it more often than what I’d like to admit. The article struck a chord, so I’d like to share a particularly tough situation I faced recently.
Let me set the scene: as Co-Chair (now happily ex!) of the BCCF at TIE-Boston, I was fortunate to produce an event for TIECONEAST 2006 with a venerable panel on networking as an advanced marketing tool. It was a single-person effort. But that did not bode well with the group’s ex-chair/founder, a person I’ll call Sainath. A "team" meeting turned ugly and he came out swinging with some pretty sick accusations.
Sure enough, back home I thought of a million responses especially since I was wrongly accused. Pointless! Cortisol, I now realize, had taken control of me during that exchange. I think an actionable solution applies to many situations, so let us:
1. Breathe normally; not heavy or long or short; just regular and usual
2. Pick battles: choose and focus only on 2-3 issues and flesh them out
3. Pause after every point made to let it sink in and help gather strength
4. Walk away if the situation does not get resolved in 30 minutes
5. Talk about the problem extensively with family till total exhaustion
#5 could be controversial. But I’d rather flush the Cortisol out than let it build inside – I’m guaranteed to spend the night pondering about it! I also don’t think one can control the tone, level or speed of talking during the conflict. But I wonder what else works.